Journal Province: West Sumatera Regency/City: Padangpanjang Subdistrict: West Padangpanjang

Lime at Dark Land

Written by Otty Widasari


It is called  Tanah Hitam (Dark Land). A sub district at the foot of Tui Hill, a lime hill mined by public as a source of life. A terrifying landslide occurred in 1987. The local community called it ‘Galodo’. There were many victims then, and many stories were kept.


The community believed that the Galodo event which occurred in May 1987 was caused by the irresponsible behavior of the people in harmonizing with nature. Adultery and gambling were two things most regretted by the elderly as the cause of the disaster that caused the loss of hundreds of people.

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Tui Hill is only about 30 meter from the complex of Dark Land. It is extremely dangerous for a living area. The steeply sloping hills deforested and very steep, with a declivity of 80 degrees. Tui Hill is very important for Tanah Hitam inhabitants. The excavating of lime has been done at the foot hill since 1972 and has been the main means of livelihood of the inhabitants in the surroundings.

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The hill was known to be overgrown with Tui trees. But due to the many lime kilns at the foot hill, the area became deforested and the hill keeps being eroded. That is the real main cause of the repeating landslide at Tanah Hitam.

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The Irony is, besides the loss of many inhabitants, they are also of the opinion that the landslide brings blessing due to the falling limes. Limes coming from Tui Hill are known to be a basic material of high quality for terrazzo floor tiles. The price of a big chunk of lime is equal to the price of a water buffalo.



This article is part of a collection of akumassa texts that was ever exhibited in the form of text-image by Forum Lenteng on Images Festival 2011. The reports about akumassa at Images Festival can be seen in David Darmadi’s articles, “Kabar dari Toronto: Pembukaan Pameran akumassaand Kabar dari Toronto: Malam Penganugerahan Images Festival“. The photos contained in this article comes from the archives of akumassa and Akumassa Video, titled “Penambang Kapur di Bukit Tui“.

About the author


Otty Widasari

OTTY WIDASARI is an artist, writer, director and curator. Currently, she is the Director of the Media Education and Empowerment Program (AKUMASSA) at the Forum Lenteng.

1 Comment

  • A fascinating discussion is worth comment.

    I do think that you need to publish more on this subject, it might
    not be a taboo matter but usually people don’t discuss such subjects.
    To the next! Kind regards!!

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